So, in a thread unrelated (or tangentially related) to Mass Effect 3, an article was linked where the author made the (IMO) ridiculous claim that: I can't agree with this, given that the Mass Effect universe is a hash of a lot of standard space opera stuff, and doesn't really have any big ideas of its own. (Don't take this as a criticism of the game, I love me some Mass Effect) This got me thinking, however, about what I would list as the most (big I) Important science fiction of the last 20? (is that too long?) years. Here's the ones I came up with off the top of my head. Iain Banks' Culture - This was the first I thought of. Few sci-fi series have such a cohesive vision of the future, and are willing to explore that society from as many different angles as these books. Vernor Vinge's Zones Of Thought - The first book might be a little early for "this generation", but in terms of big ideas, this has it in spades. Vernor Vinge's Rainbow's End - To me, this is actually a better view of what the world could be like in 10-20-30 years than anything more cyberpunky. Those are three, but I keep wanting to put something by Stross or Watts on there (Blindsight would go on a list my MY most important science fiction of the last 20 years). Anyone else have any suggestions for generation defining science fiction? You can define generation however you want.